Today, the kids were BANANAS! Soon it will be time for baths and bed. But all I can think about is the Dodge Poetry Festival in Stanhope, New Jersey. Yes, I’m thinking about the big tents with people big-eared and intense about hearing poetry. Yes, I’m thinking about getting together with friends and colleagues in the poetry community. Yes, I’m thinking about my blog posts, photos, audio posts, and video clips.
But right now, I’m thinking about a weekend of adult conversations with no kids. And a hotel with an indoor pool!
So I’m using this Sunday Scribblings to offer my instructions on how to enjoy the Dodge Poetry Festival.
- Have a great time! This is the largest poetry festival in North America with people just like you who want to talk about poetry for four days straight. When does that ever happen in real life? Every two years.
- Discover a new poet. Chances are Jorie Graham or Mark Doty will read at a Barnes & Noble near you. I recommend taking the time to discover a new poet. For me, that will be Brian Turner, Andrew Motion, or Taslima Nasreen. Did you know that Taslima Nasreen has written almost 30 books that have been translated into 20 languages? I didn’t, and I can’t wait to find out more.
- Support the Poets Among Us. These are poets who have yet to publish a book or who have one or two books and are on the fringes of greatness.
- If you have the chance and you enjoyed hearing the poet’s work, tell him/her how much you enjoyed the reading. I don’t care how far up the food chain a poet gets, he/she enjoys the compliment.
- Buy a poetry book. It’s important to support the community, so don’t be cheap. And, if you feel so moved, have it autographed.
- Talk to other poets. See #1 for details.
- Read your own work. There are microphones set up all over the place. Read your best poem, but don’t hog the spotlight. Always leave the crowd wanting more.
- Take part in the discussions. Participate in the Q&A’s with your favorite poet.
- Get to the venues early because, as you would imagine, the good seats go quickly.
- Get in touch with your earthy, crunchy side. Leave the cell phones at home, or at least turn them off. And if it rains, suck it up. Hope for better weather in 2008.